Research in Motion: What Lies Ahead?

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Case Details:

Case Code : ECON039
Case Length : 13 Pages
Period : 2012
Pub. Date : 2013
Teaching Note :Available
Organization : --
Industry : Smartphones
Countries : North America; Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

RIM was founded in 1984 by two engineering students Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin (Douglas). RIM started out as an electronics and computer science consulting business. It later started to focus on transmission of wireless data and setting up of wireless point-of-sale terminals for business communications like credit-card sales processing. RIM was the first company outside Scandinavia and in North America to develop connectivity products. By 1992, it started to focus on pagers when Jim Balsillie joined it by putting in Canadian Dollars (C$) 250,000 of his own money. Its research staff found a way to both receive and send messages on pagers.

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Mike was interested in developing a system to send and receive not just plain text messages but emails over wireless networks. In 1996, RIM introduced the first two-way messaging pager, the ‘Inter@ctive Pager’ and the ‘RIM 900 OEM Radio Modem’. RIM was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1997 and raised C$ 115 million from investors.

By the late 1990s, phones capable of doing much more than just voice calls began to emerge. In 1996, Nokia Corporation (Nokia) introduced its ground breaking product called the Nokia 9000 communicator which was capable of sending emails and Fax messages. The Nokia 9000 was an instant hit among busy corporate executives. It was later followed up with the more advanced Nokia 9110 Communicator. RIM responded by releasing a new wireless device called the BlackBerry 850 under the new BlackBerry brand in 1999. The BlackBerry 850 was a handheld computer which offered two-way paging, email access, and other wireless data access with a small onboard QWERTY keyboard. RIM signed agreements with a number of wireless service providers to offer the BlackBerry services on their networks. The new BlackBerry devices were received well by corporate users due to their anywhere secure email access facility. With the introduction of the BlackBerry range of devices, RIM emerged as one of the fastest growing technology companies in Canada. RIM was listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market in 1999 and raised C$ 250 million to develop the BlackBerry technology. In November 2000, RIM raised another C$ 950 million through a share offering.

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